From the Editor: October 2017

Autumnal Attractions

By Margaret Clay

I just love October. The burnt fall hues, the cooler breezes, boots, scarves, smart jackets, and yes, even the pumpkin spice craze … I eagerly anticipate it all.

It is also a big month for deer hunters as the “rut” reaches its peak. Read “Hiding in Plain Sight” on page 60 to learn all about the newest trends in hunting attire as well as the history behind the traditional sporting wardrobe. Thankfully, one faster-growing component for the hunting fashion industry is an expanding female repository. I spent many a hunt growing up with a spare pair of my father’s camo pants comically synched around my waist with a belt. It was a look made complete by three pairs of thick, wool socks so that I could increase my odds of walking in the enormous, male-sized boots at the end of my waders. According to Lucy Mahon, I was not alone.

However, having all the latest techy gear might, in reality, not make you look any less ridiculous! Read Tom Ryan’s humorous take on the Southern hunter on page 22 to see the category in which you — or your spouse — may fall.    

For those opposed to making themselves mosquito bait as the sun sets and who would rather spend their evenings sipping a cocktail, read “A Capital City Twist” on page 42 to learn about the history of the martini and spice up your own bartending skills with some local, award-winning recipes.

Our photo essay in this issue features many of the beautiful photographs Robert Clark shared with us from his statewide travels to South Carolina’s historic cemeteries. October leads up to All Saints Day, the church’s annual remembrance and celebration of the lives of those who have died in the past year, and Robert’s stunning photographs capture the sublime beauty of these memorials, starting on page 76.

While Oct. 31 is best known and celebrated today as Halloween, “All Hallows Eve” (the eve of All Saints Day) is also the anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 theses on the church doors at Wittenberg, and this year marks the quincentenary of that decisive moment that forever changed the course of history. Read Tom Smith’s article on page 34 to learn more about this controversial figure who was not only a theologian but also a brilliant composer and, more than 200 years later, a powerful inspiration to Bach.

We hope you enjoy these and the other articles in this issue!

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Gala-vanting the Night Away

An evening of food, fashion, and fun

By Katherine Dyke

On Thursday, September 28, the Columbia Chamber hosted its 115th Annual Gala to toast the past year’s accomplishments, look ahead to new goals, and celebrate some of the Midlands’ most inspiring individuals. Columbia Metropolitan Magazine was honored to be a sponsor of the event along with Presenting Sponsor BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and other community leaders. More than 800 Midlands business leaders attended the Gala at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. Two receptions opened the evening: a VIP reception upstairs included a wine tasting sponsored by Aleph Wine Corporation, and the reception on the Lower Level featured a photobooth by the University of South Carolina Athletic Department. Both were very well attended.

The gala program and seated dinner were held in the Exhibit Hall, a large, hangar-like exhibition space transformed into a rather elegant dining room. Stars lit the walls and ceiling! Wine coolers made of ice adorned the tables! Fun music and a festive feeling filled the room.

Once everyone settled down and settled in, dinner and the program began. Up first: the presentation of the colors and the singing of the national anthem, which alone made it a worthwhile evening. Beautiful! Carl Blackstone, Columbia Chamber President and CEO, then thanked the evening’s many and generous sponsors and introduced the group of 2017 honorees. The honors included: Ambassador of the Year, Young Professional of the Year, Public Servant of the Year, Military Advocate of the Year, and Diplomat of the Year.

The 2017 Ambassador of the Year is Dawn Staley, University of South Carolina Women’s Basketball Head Coach. Dawn Staley is not only an accomplished coach, leading her Gamecocks team to the 2017 NCAA National Championship title, but also a selfless Midlands citizen committed to giving back. Dawn accepted the honor via video recording, thanking the Columbia Chamber and speaking of her mother’s example of generosity in helping others. University President Harris Pastides and Athletic Director Ray Tanner represented her and the University of South Carolina while Staley was in California for a commitment as head coach of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team.

John Griggs of NBSC was honored as the 2017 Young Professional of the Year. The 2017 Public Servant of the Year is Bobby Hitt, South Carolina Secretary of Commerce. Kevin Shwedo, of the SC DMV, was named the 2017 Military Advocate of the Year. And the 2017 Diplomat of the Year is Phyllis Wood of Palmetto SolarPros. Tribute videos highlighted each recipient’s positive impact. The honorees are smart, dedicated, and deserving; how fortunate to have them working in our community!

The Columbia Chamber’s Immediate Past Chairman, John Singerling, introduced the new Chairman, David Lockwood. John Singerling, David Lockwood, and Carl Blackstone all spoke to the strength of the Chamber and its impact over the last several years. They also introduced the Chamber’s futurist initiative, “Forward, Together,” as their exercise to ensure the Chamber continues to build a stronger Midlands community for businesses and residents through 2040.

The Columbia Chamber’s 115th Annual Gala was a fun and inspiring evening all around. Congratulations to the 2017 honorees!

P.S. In case anyone is  interested, here are fashion and food details. Attire was black-tie optional. A surprising number chose the option of tuxedos and floor-length gowns, which definitely added to the celebratory atmosphere. Dinner included a green salad with peaches and prosciutto and a lemon vinaigrette; dinner rolls with five compound butters; surf and turf of sliced teres major steak (aka, bistro filet) with a crab cake, asparagus and roasted potatoes; and, tables of petit fours and coffee for dessert. Sound good? Plan to attend next year’s event!

Fall for Apples

Where to find them, and how to make them last

By Deena C. Bouknight

October may be the time to think about picking pumpkins and enjoying everything under the sun dubbed pumpkin spice, but September is ripe for apples. Peaches are pretty much past and berries are long gone, but apple trees all over the Upstate and into North Carolina are heavy laden with fruit.

Apples, in fact, are one of the largest fruit industries in America. The U.S. Apple Association (USAA) reports 240 million bushels of apples grown annually result in a $4 billion crop. Apple festivals abound this month; plus, as weather cools, the tendency of cooks and bakers everywhere is to pull out favorite apple recipes and find new ones.

A huge benefit for apple lovers, besides nutritionally, is that the fruit has a long-shelf life. Unlike peaches that must be eaten quickly, apples can last weeks and even months if handled properly. There are ways to take care of apples to keep them fresh.

Before visiting an orchard, produce stand, or even the local grocer, consider:

– for utmost longevity, choose tarter, thicker-skin varieties;

– bruising happens when apples are bumped and dropped, so choose and handle carefully – a brownish soft spot can spread and affect the whole apple; and,

– the larger the apple the faster spoilage will happen.

USAA also shares some storage tips:

1) A refrigerator crisper drawer is the best bet – stored alone, they will not take on any smells from other fruits and veggies.

2) Check daily to make sure no apples in the bunch are rotting – “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch” is a real thing.

3) There are specially designed apple racks that help preserve large quantities of apples.

While apples are not as easy to freeze as some fruit, such as berries, it can be done. Sites such as USAA’s teach how to dry-pack freeze or syrup-pack freeze. Frozen apples can be used later in cooked recipes. With a dehydrator, apples can be dried and stored in air-tight containers to eat as snacks or to reconstitute and cook later.

This time of year, Saturday morning’s Soda City, the South Carolina State Farmer’s Market, and roadside stands all across the state burst with bins of apples. Popular South Carolina-grown varieties include:

– Honeycrisp, which are sweet, a little tart, and almost always crisp.

– Ginger Gold, which are a pale yellow-green in color and have a tangy crunch.

– Fuji, which are sweet and crisp and small- to medium-sized.

– Granny Smith, which are notoriously tart and great for apple pies and cakes.

– Rome, which are also used for baking because their flavor is enhanced when they are cooked.

– Golden Delicious, which are the sweet/tart apple many choose for snacks.

Plus, there are many more as well as a few other varieties grown in neighboring North Carolina’s foothills and mountains. According to Clemson Extension, there are about 30 apple producers in South Carolina, and about half of those are commercial growers. Most apples are grown in the Upstate. Some of the places in South Carolina to pick apples are:

Fisher’s Orchard in Greer

Bryson’s Apple Orchard in Mountain Rest

Chattooga  Belle Farms in Long Creek

Nivens Apple Farm in Moore

Windy Hill Orchard  in York

Many from Columbia make a day of it and visit the popular Sky Top Orchard in Flat Rock, North Carolina. This orchard is a sensory experience. Not only do the fragrant  ripening apples beckon, but so does warm apple cider and fresh-made apple cider doughnuts. There are at least a dozen varieties of apples on about 70 acres. A picking schedule is on Sky Top’s website.  Individual, families, and friends can grab a basket, head to the ripe orchards, and start picking. Or, the on-site store features bins of just-picked apples and opportunities to taste different varieties before selecting and/or picking. USA Today named Sky Top Orchard as a 10 Best Readers’ Choice 2017.

Among the recipes Sky Top Orchard offers customers are these two favorites:

Apple Streusel Muffins

Batter:

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1cup sour cream

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

2 cups diced unpeeled apples (preferable a tart apple)

Topping:

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons soft butter

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffin cups or use foil baking cups. Put streusel topping ingredients into a medium bowl and mix with a fork until very crumbly.  Set aside.

Make muffin batter by combining dry ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl, combine eggs, sour cream, and melted butter and whisk until well blended. Stir in diced apples, then add dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Scoop batter into muffin cups, filling about 3/4 cup full. Top each muffin with about 2 teaspoons of the streusel topping. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until browned.  A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Remove from pans and let cool at least one hour before serving.

Makes about 18 muffins.

 

Apple Cheese Spread

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup grated cheddar cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons brandy or sherry

1 medium tart apple

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine the cream cheese, cheddar, and brandy in a bowl.  Beat until smooth. Peel, core, grate the apple, and add it to the bowl. Add the basil, oregano, thyme, and pepper, and stir until thoroughly combined. Spoon the mixture into a crock;  cover and chill for about 1 hour.  Serve on toast points or crackers.

Yield:  2 1/2 cups

 

Do not despair if fresh apples begin to soften or one part of an apple has a bad bruise. Chutneys, baked apples, applesauce, apple pancakes, pies, breads, muffins, and more are easy to make with apples past their prime. Plus, most apple recipes do not have to include a single variety. Mix it up!

Diana Stevenson, owner of Grace Outdoor Advertising in Columbia, is part German. Her father, Otto Wemmer, who passed away earlier this year, was a native of Germany who was a young boy still living in the country during World War II and Nazism. Diana grew up eating many different German apple dishes. Her mother, Elvira Wemmer, a native of Bogota, Colombia, who resides in Columbia, had to learn to make her husband’s favorite apple dishes – a skill she passed on to Diana. A favorite she feeds her family annually during their private at-home fall festival is Apfelkuchen (Apple Cake). Here is her family recipe:

1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 stick salted butter
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
4-5 medium tart apples, peeled and sliced thin
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
To make the pastry, mix flour and sugar and cut in butter until it is crumbly. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolk and vanilla and add to flour mixture; combine well. Press dough into a 9-inch springform pan and press halfway up sides. Layer apple slices on the crust. In another bowl, beat softened cream cheese with a mixer. Add sugar and then eggs, one at a time. Add the 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Pour over apples and bake for 50-60 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Let cool and then carefully unhinge the spring on the springform pan and remove. Keep the cake on the bottom of the pan. Cut and serve. Can be eaten warm or cold – for dessert with a big glass of milk, with afternoon tea or coffee as a snack, or for breakfast. 

From the Editor: September 2017

Cultivating Character

Coach Muschamp defines the attributes of an effective leader

The coming of September marks the last tastes of summer relished over Labor Day, the return to “the routine,” the first hints of the refreshing fall weather to come, and the start of football. USC fans have much to look forward to as Coach Will Muschamp leads the Gamecocks in his second full season. 

While projections and statistics are abundant, we at CMM wanted to step back from the field and take a peek behind the scenes at what the normal, daily routine looks like for the Muschamps. To learn about how Carol and Will met, what Will sees as the greatest challenges he has faced, and how their family feels about life in Columbia, read Aïda Rogers’ article on page 54. 

I also took the opportunity to ask Coach Muschamp about his views on effective leadership. Leadership for him starts with exemplifying the positive character traits he hopes to grow in his players. “There are a lot of roles that are involved in wearing the head coach’s hat,” he says. “For my players to see me not just in the role of their coach, but also in the other roles of a husband and a father here in Columbia is really important. I try to really embrace that so I can show them how it is done the right way. I think that example should speak for itself.”

In Coach Muschamp’s experience, his father, Larry, was that strong mentor in his life who taught him how to lead and whose legacy he strives to carry on through his relationships with his players. “My father was a great story teller, a great teacher, a great husband, a great father, and a great example for me growing up. In our society today, the father figure is absent from a lot of households, and as a coach, I love that responsibility to be part of that role for a young man who hasn’t had a positive male influence in his life.”

Will hopes that his example from the top will cultivate a community of players who can together achieve greatness both on and off the field. While all of the leaders on his team have the commonality of experience and the contribution of peak talent to the team, some lead quietly while others do so more vociferously in making a positive impact on their teammates. Similarly, as a coach, Will makes it his job to reach players individually in their differences, finding unique “buttons” to push causing each one to tick. 

“Some are what I call self-starters and don’t need a lot of instruction to be motivated, whereas others need constructive criticism every now and again. There is a key to every young man, and it is my job as their coach to find that key and within that to have them understand that the team always comes first, and they have to earn anything they get. With that selfless model of unity over the self, great things can happen.” 

Well said, Coach, and good luck this season! 

7 Days and Counting

Last minute information for eclipse-day planning

By Deena C. Bouknight

A full article on the upcoming August 21st total eclipse is featured in the July/August 2017 issue of Columbia Metropolitan Magazine. Visit ColumbiaMetro.com.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of the moon crossing in front of its view of the sun on Jan. 30, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. EST in 171 and 304 angstrom light. The two wavelengths are blended together.

The eclipse is the talk of the town. Hotel occupancy has been reserved for months at 100 percent for the evening of August 20th, and 91 percent the evening following the eclipse. Hundreds of thousands of are expected from all over the world due to Columbia’s unique position in the path of this rare astronomical phenomenon. Some in Columbia are even offering up rooms through AirBNB and VRBO sites. The eclipse will last nearly 3 hours in all — starting a little after 1 p.m. and ending shortly after 4 p.m. The period of totality will last about two and a half minutes just after 2:40 p.m.

The website set up to handle questions and provide information – managed by city leaders – is totaleclipsecolumbiasc.com, and it started receiving at least 2,500 hits daily nearly a month ago. “At 2:41 p.m. on Monday, August 21, 2017, viewers who have gathered in the Greater Columbia, S.C., area will experience the longest period of 100% total eclipse for a metro area on the entire East Coast of the United States — ranging from 2 minutes and 30 seconds to 2 minutes and 36 seconds of total darkness,” it shares. On the site, visitors can view a map of the eclipse route, learn history and details of eclipses, know events, sales, and activities planned for Eclipse Weekend, and find special eclipse glasses, which must be worn to protect eyes.

One location to purchase glasses is the State Museum at only a few dollars a pair. Glasses will also be given out at various events during the eclipse. The City of Columbia expects to distribute at least 100,000 pairs.

One common question is: Where should I be during the eclipse? It is important to decide prior to August 21 where to view the eclipse. Either stay home and plan to watch from the yard, or get to another site early to avoid crowds and secure a viewing spot. Officials are forecasting severe interstate congestion and cautioning travelers to plan for patience.

Here are just some eclipse-planning considerations, provided by Total Eclipse Columbia SC:

Festivals & Entertainment

  • “Soda City Eclipse Viewing Party” and Eclipse Eve Drive-In Movie Night at Historic Columbia Speedway in Cayce, S.C., just across the Congaree River from Columbia, S.C.
  • Columbia Fireflies minor league baseball games all weekend and “Total Eclipse of the Park” game and viewing event during eclipse with iMAGINE STEM Festival
  • Solar 17 at Lake Murray viewing festival with tents, free water and free eclipse glasses at Lake Murray dam & lakefront park sites, 25 minutes from downtown Columbia, S.C.
  • The Lexington County Blowfish baseball team is dedicating their entire 2017 season to the eclipse and will open the Lexington County Baseball Stadium for a free viewing event
  • ECLIPSEFEST 2017 at Music Farm Columbia w/rock ‘n roll tribute bands
  • Viewing event with family-friendly band in the spacious gardens of the Robert Mills House
  • Solar Fest West at the West Columbia riverfront amphitheater with live entertainment

Science & Education

  • The S.C. State Museum (home of the Boeing Observatory) will host ticketed events and educational programming all weekend, with a NASA exhibition and eclipse day viewing event with a personal appearance by S.C. NASA astronaut Charles Duke (one of 12 men to walk on the moon).
  • Astronomy workshops, exhibitions & lectures at University of South Carolina department of Physics and Astronomy and at USC’s Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections’ Robert B. Ariail collection of historical astronomy
  • Eclipse Geocaching Cointrail event at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center
  • Solar Learning Challenge party for families on Aug. 19 at Richland Library
  • Riverbanks Zoo will be open for regular ticketed admission all weekend and on eclipse day
  • Saluda Shoals Park’s family-friendly Eclipse Extravaganza with games & hands-on activities
  • Historic Columbia walking tours of Main St. & the Vista, happy hour water balloon fight
  • Summer Learning Challenge hosted by Richland Library
  • Eddie’s Eyes on the Sky Sleepover with EdVenture, educational indoor camping

Outdoors

  • Paddling on the lower Saluda River at Saluda Shoals Park’s Total Eclipse on the River event
  • “Shadows and Science in the Wilderness” programs & ranger-led hikes to prime viewing locations at Congaree National Park, 20 minutes from downtown Columbia, S.C.
  • Guided outdoor historical walking tours along the paved, riverside forest trails at the 12,000 Year History Park in Cayce, S.C., 10 minutes from downtown Columbia, S.C.
  • Total eclipse viewing event at Sesquicentennial State Park in Northeast Columbia, S.C.
  • Tent camping and eclipse viewing at Siesta Cove Marina & RV Park on Lake Murray
  • Eclipse tailgate party, plus parking and RV parking, at the S.C. State Fairgrounds
  • Picnic and eclipse viewing in the wide-open fields of Camp Discovery

Food & Drink

  • Lowcountry Boil & Paella Party with live music at City Roots urban sustainable farm
  • VIP Eclipse Viewing Party with open bar & luxe buffet at Motor Supply Co. Bistro in the Vista
  • “The Grape Eclipse” 4-day wine, food and jazz party at Mercer Winery in Lexington, S.C.
  • Two Gals and a Fork Food Tours
  • Taco Monday eclipse viewing specials at Publico Kitchen & Tap in Five Points
  • Cooking class and rooftop eclipse viewing with Let’s Cook Studio
  • Barrel-aged beer release at Old Mill Brewpub in Lexington
  • Enoree River Winery’s crowd and RV friendly viewing event with live music

Arts

  • A large-scale public art/laser light installation at the Congaree River, “Southern Lights”
  • “Star Wars Musiclipse” space-themed concert by S.C. Philharmonic
  • The Jasper Project’s “Syzygy” eclipse-themed plays and poetry events w/two Poet Laureates
  • Nickelodeon Theatre screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • The popular Arts & Draughts party at the Columbia Museum of Art
  • Palmetto Y Luna arts event at Tapp’s Arts Center
  • Film, music, art & dance events across the region
  • “Art in the Dark” family-friendly celebration from Bravo Blythewood
  • Learn how to photograph the eclipse with the Blythewood Chamber of Commerce

The solar eclipse will be here before we know it! To countdown, visit this handy site:
eclipsecountdown.com.

Ex Libris Online: YA Series for Summer Reading

By Margaret Clay

ex Libris MC (2)

It is hard to believe that summer is already beginning to wind down when it seems like Memorial Day was only yesterday. Somehow, there is no slowing down the rapid depletion of these slow days. However, the long dog-days of schedule-less freedom are numbered, and that means limited time to finish summer reading logs. Thankfully, if there are still numerous slots to be filled, Young Adult novel series can be a fast and fun way to knock out multiple books while continuing a story that already engages your child. Who knows, you might even add some of these to your own summer reading log!

You may have read about the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series in the June issue, and if those books connected with your child, good news — Rick Riordan’s YA writing is prolific as he has created many other mythology series for voracious young readers. Two of these series expose children to two other major cultural traditions — Egyptian mythology and Norse mythology.

The Kane Chronicles

Like Percy Jackson, the protagonists of “The Kane Chronicles” (siblings Carter and Sadie Kane) alternatively narrate their tale of discovering their divine heritage. Descended from the two pharaohs Narmer and Ramses the Great, these siblings discover that they are powerful magicians who must contend with the Egyptian gods and goddesses, who still interact with the real world despite most people’s oblivion of them. These books sport Riordan’s typical fast-paced, action-driven plot that will keep young readers on the edges of their seats … all while receiving a lesson on Egyptian mythology. Once the trilogy is finished, fans have the delightful opportunity to read Demigods and Magicians — a series of short stories where the worlds of Ancient Greece and Egypt collide when the Kanes meet “Percy Jackson” protagonists Percy and Annabeth. These magic-wielding teens find they must team up in order to defeat an ancient enemy who is mixing Greek and Egyptian magic to ultimately rule the world.

As a middle school teacher, Riordan was inspired to write this series after completing “Percy Jackson” and discovering that the only subject in ancient history that his students enjoyed more than Ancient Greece was Ancient Egypt.

By these books here.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

In the trilogy “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard,” the titular hero is actually cousins with Annabeth Chase of “Percy Jackson,” thus linking the two series together. In the first book, Magnus discovers that he is the son of the Norse fertility god Frey and is immediately confronted by a fire giant named Surt, who plans to hasten the end of the world by freeing the Fenris Wolf. Magnus must enlist the help of a valkyrie, a dwarf named Blitz, and an elf named Hearth to attempt to foil the giant.

Norse mythology was a major influence in J. R. R. Tolkien’s creation of Middle Earth, and LOTR fans will enjoy a deeper acquaintance with the original folklore that inspired that beloved series. The third and final book in Riordan’s newest trilogy will release this fall.

By these books here.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

For the sci-fi lover in your household, have you discovered Douglas Adams’ “trilogy in five parts,” The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? The wit in these books is classically British — dry and somewhat sophisticated while playing with the ludicrous — making this series probably best suited for a slightly older child who appreciates this droll type of humor. Arthur Dent finds himself to be the last surviving man from Earth (following the demolition of the planet by a Vogon constructor fleet to make way for a hyperspace bypass) when he is rescued at the moment of destruction by his friend Ford Prefect, who turns out not to be a human at all. Ford is an alien writer for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and has been researching the planet Earth for the guide for a number of years. Arthur goes on to explore the galaxy with Ford and learns information such as that the planet Earth was just one big experiment set up by lab rats to study humans, how to use a Babel Fish to interpret other galaxy languages, and the ins and outs of Vogon poetry.

The story combines science fiction with the finest tradition of English humor and was originally broadcast as a radio comedy on the BBC in 1978. Its popularity led to later adaptations into novels, comic books, stage shows, a 1981 TV series, a 1984 computer game, and finally a movie in 2005. The Folio Society has published all five books in their usual fine quality, illustrated by Jonathan Burton.

Buy these books here. 

The Borrowers

For the younger reader, he or she can still enjoy British fantasy storytelling in a more traditional manner with “The Borrowers” series. Have you ever wondered what exactly happens to all the safety pins? Factories keep on manufacturing them, yet there is never one handy when most needed. These five books chronicle the adventures of one small family of “borrowers” — little people who live within the walls and beneath the floors and who “borrow” anything within their grasp. They are a very inventive people as they must cleverly construct human homes and lives for themselves using the over-sized goods that people leave lying about.

The big adventures in which these little people continually find themselves are enthralling, and readers will become enamored with Pod, Homily and young Arrietty… and with the rare few children who are lucky enough to make their acquaintance.

By these books here.

 

Accolades and Reopenings for Richland Library

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Columbia’s local library receives prestigious national medal and renovates the Cooper Branch

By Helen Clay

Summertime offers new opportunities for reading as kids complete summer reading requirements and adults craft literature lists of their own, hoping to relax with new novels during family vacations or downtime. While submersing yourself in a new story is entertaining, the process of choosing which book will become your companion for the next few weeks is equally exciting. Will you revisit historical events, experience thrillers, or re-read your favorite classic?

In Columbia, we are lucky to have a vast book collection at our fingertips through Richland Library. Richland library boasts of an extensive collection that fulfills every reader’s needs — novels, historical fiction, children’s literature, biographies, primary resources, and more! Last year, the Richland Libraries received more than two million visits, a number that does not include the numerous programs Richland Library brings to Cola Town in different venues. Richland Library’s dedication to the local community and its impressive book selection garnered the library a prestigious honor as the winner of the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. This award is the nation’s highest award given to museums and libraries for service and dedication to their community. We have all reaped benefits as residents of the Midlands from Richland Library’s civic service, and Columbia Metropolitan Magazine joins the community in congratulating them on this elite honor!

Cooper Preview_July17
After a nearly $3 million renovation, Richland Library Cooper Branch reopens its doors to the public.

As Richland Library continues its work throughout our community, the organization celebrates yet another milestone in 2017… the GRAND REOPENING of the Richland Library Cooper Branch! After a nearly $3 million renovation, the Copper Branch is flinging open its doors to the public once again. The project included a reconfiguration and renovation of the existing 10,000 square foot structure and a new addition of 1,000 square feet. The branch now includes an expanded children’s area, the addition of two “Makerspaces” (an area that provides hardware supplies, software, and electronics for people to gather to create and learn), a quiet reading room, and a covered book drop.

Richland Library Cooper Branch invites you and your family to come celebrate the grand reopening from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19. Come experience the charm of this local library and make new summer memories with your children. My fondest childhood excursions involved a trip to the Richland Library Cooper Branch with my shiny new library card in hand, eager with the anticipation of stuffing my bag full of wonderful literary treasures… It was almost better than Christmas.

Don’t miss your chance to view the newly renovated Richland Library Cooper Branch tomorrow morning! What will be next on your summer reading list?

Richland Library Cooper Branch GRAND REOPENING

Date: July 19, 2017

Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Location:  5317 Trenholm Rd, Columbia, SC 29206

 

 

 

Boating Day!

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Plan Ahead for a Primo Day

By Deena C. Bouknight

With a 78-square-mile lake nearby and the coast within a few hours’ drive, there are thousands of boating enthusiasts within the Midlands. A day of boating is tons of fun! Simply allot some time for a little pre-planning.

Avoid throwing a bunch of stuff in bags and coolers the morning of. Make a list, depending on number of people, activities, length of time, etc. To make the boat trip even more enjoyable and memorable, pack some interesting items that are not typically used and consumed at home. Some suggestions are these:

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– GoPro! Film candid videos, as well as activities such as skiing, swimming, snorkeling, and fishing

– Bluetooth speakers and a festive summertime playlist for dancing or impromptu karaoke

– Several floaties… especially if boating on a lake. (There are easy-to-store items called Lazy Bunz, water mats that hold lots of people, and even an inflatable slide for the side of a boat)

– Bag of books

– Food that is easy to eat with fingers or minimal disposable utensils and packs easily in a cooler. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Individual layered salads (fruit or veggie) in plastic cups with lids
  2. A sealable snack tray of cheeses, deli meats, fruit, and cut veggies
  3. Chips and salsa; wrap sandwiches; barbecue on rolls
  4. Baked or fried chicken; and, a tub of cole slaw.

Plus, containers of pre-made salads, such as chicken, egg, tuna, or shrimp, are easy to keep in a cooler and can be eaten on bread, with lettuce, or with crackers. Many restaurants in town sell these salads in varying sized containers. For dessert, bring a range of cookies that will not easily melt or crumble, which will make it easier to keep your boat deck clean!

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Have plenty of individual water bottles, but also diverse and interesting drinks. Make easy to consume drinks that are disposable (pack a giant trash bag the night before). Cut up lemons, limes, and orange slices and store them in a sealable bag so that they can be added to any beverage for a refreshing twist.

A quality cooler, even though pricey, is worth its weight in gold on a boat. No one wants to drink warm beverages or eat food that is sopping from melted ice.

Don’t forget… sunscreen! Avoid frying on the boat all day by making sure a bag with plenty of sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses is on hand.

Boating is loads of fun, but can also be hazardous – especially during summer months when waterways are congested and temperatures soar.  Not to worry. The goal is fun! Just be prepared with a properly stocked ditch bag.

A ditch bag is a compact floating bag designed to hold critical items boaters may need in case of an emergency. Instead of just sticking items here, there, and everywhere on a boat, a ditch bag keeps necessities together to grab and go. Plus, a ditch bag is reassuring to boat owners and passengers alike; emergencies are prepared for, even if they never come.

There are several ditch bag do’s to consider:

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  • Start with a real ditch bag – not any ol’ freebee logo bag will suffice. It needs to float, and have plenty of pockets and storage compartment to keep items organized. It should also seal well. A fully-loaded bag should not sink or take on any water. It should also be a bright color and feature reflective tape. Reflective tape can be purchased separately and attached if necessary. Plus, an adequate ditch bag will have a tether and a clip so that it will not float away.
  • Invest in a quality radio beacon, which alerts the Coast Guard of the boat’s GPS position, especially if planning outings in the ocean.
  • Long-lasting lights, such as clip-on strobes and/or flashlights
  • Flares and/or chemical glow sticks
  • A hand-held GPS device
  • A whistle or other noise-making devices
  • Drinking water pouches that store flat
  • Emergency food rations, most important if boating in the ocean
  • Duck tape
  • Knife
  • First-aid kit.

Depending on the level of recreational boating and location, there are other items boating specialists recommend for a ditch bag. And, what is in the ditch bag does not discount what else should be on the boat for safety purposes, such as plenty of life jackets and a bucket or some sort of bailing device or pump. If a boating novice, it is a smart idea to consult with a local marina and other boating veterans to learn additional ditch-bag and general safety suggestions.

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It is better to be safe than sorry and invest in a well-planned ditch bag that will hopefully never be used.  A primo day of boating enjoyment awaits with just a little forethought and organization. Anchors aweigh!

 

 

Retreat … Without Going Far

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Three Local Inns Provide Unique Experiences 

By Deena C. Bouknight

We may think of staying at a bed and breakfast only when out of town – at some historic destination in another state or perhaps while in the Carolina mountains. Yet, some in Columbia are beginning to seek solace at nearby bed and breakfast inns for one-night or weekend retreats. Although there are several in and around the capitol city, three distinct inns are spotlighted here: Chesnut Cottage, Old McCaskill’s Farm, and Whispering Willows.

Pastoral Old McCaskill’s Farm

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Old McCaskill’s Farm is a farm-to-table bed and breakfast.

The farm-to-table philosophy is alive and well at this bed and breakfast just a few miles from the heart of Camden. Contractor for renovations and historical properties, Lee McCaskill and his farmer wife Kathy rebuilt their home in 2008 after a catastrophic fire. Yet, it was rebuilt to look like a four-over-four plantation style home that has existed on the property for 100-plus years. Various woods, architectural details, accessories, and functional items are actually old finds that have been refurbished. Few elements are shiny new and modern. A few years ago, the couple decided they wanted to share their home and opened the four rooms upstairs to the public.

School children were already taking regular tours of the farm, and their daughter, Ashley Robinson, has been serving a Friday farm-to-table, first-come-first-serve lunch with about 80 percent of selected menu items grown or raised directly on the farm.

Those who stay at Old McCaskill are assured an authentic working farm experience – but without actually getting hands dirty. Kathy will often pop up from picking vegetables in the wide garden, while Ashley is busy canning foods. Guests can rock on the second floor expansive covered porch and admire a pastoral scene dotted with sheep and sometimes lambs. There is a wine bar and mini fridge in the wide hall/sitting area that four spacious bedrooms upstairs share. Each area is a treasure trove of antiques and artifacts.

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The Old McCaskill’s Farm shop features tasty preserves.

Guests can also visit the animals, or shop in the on-site store, which includes blankets woven from a portion of the wool from the McCaskill’s sheep as well as farm and/or local meats, eggs, preserves, jellies, and cheeses. Hand-made soaps are also available for purchase.

Warming in the dutch oven for guests each morning are such specialties as homemade pecan and cinnamon French toast casserole and farm raised, brown-sugar sea-salt cured, nitrate-free bacon; or, another favorite is the special quiches made from the eggs collected on the farm.

Each room is $125 nightly. Rooms are named The Horse Paddock, The Honeymoon Suite, The Colonial, and The Swamp Fox, in honor of local Revolutionary War hero, Francis Marion.

Located just off Interstate 20, Old McCaskill’s Farm is only a few miles from historic a Camden, which boasts many unique shops, restaurants, antique/consignment stores, and a first-rate independent bookseller that attracts best-selling and local authors. Plus, Camden is equestrian country with a full calendar of equestrian events and activities open to the public. Driving in the opposite direction, yet still within a few minutes of the Farm, is the upscale Mill Pond Steakhouse dining experience.

                Location: 377 Cantey Lane in Rembert

                Phone Number: 803-432-9537

                Website: http://www.oldmccaskillsfarm.com.

Historic Chesnut Cottage Bed and Breakfast

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Chestnut Cottage is a historic Bed & Breakfast in the heart of downtown Columbia.

Despite its location on Hampton Street, just a few blocks from Main Street in downtown Columbia, Chesnut Cottage was not burned by General William Tecumsah Sherman’s men in February 1865. Mary Boykin Chesnut, who resided in the home at that time but “escaped” just prior to the Union army’s presence in the then-Confederate state, documented her eye-witness account of the Civil War years in her extensive and vividly descriptive diary. A Diary From Dixie was first published in 1905 and has since undergone several editions. The house, which was spared the burning that destroyed homes just one block away, is steeped in history. Mary’s husband was United States Senator James Chesnut Jr., while her father, Stephen Decatur Miller, was former governor of South Carolina. James became an aid to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who gave his last speech to Columbia from the porch of their cottage in October 1864.

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 2.00.29 PMThe cottage was built in circa 1850 and was Mary’s home off and on just toward the end of the war. Even though much of the south struggled during Reconstruction, Mary’s home was a residence until the 1960s when it was converted into offices for a physician. Diane and Gale Garrett purchased the cottage and turned it into a bed and breakfast in 1991. Diane passed in 1996, but Gale still owns the property; he remarried and assists his wife, Sherwood, on a regular basis.

More than 150 years later, the Chesnut Cottage is on the National Registry of Historic Places and still welcomes politicians as well as everyday citizens and history buffs alike. In fact, Gale says guests expect antebellum and Civil War history as part of their experience. Century-plus-old bottles and jugs found in the dirt around the property are on display as is a 19th century drawing/map of downtown Columbia. About half the guests are staycation locals, but the cottage has also drawn some from as far away as Australia, China, Europe, and South America. Plus, there are plenty of local and out-of-town regulars. Spring and fall see the most activity.

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Guests enjoy a hearty breakfast in their rooms or in the home’s dining area.

As a bed and breakfast, the cottage provides five rooms decorated in antebellum period antiques. Three are named for the historic figures that once graced the cottage’s interiors: Mary Boykin Chesnut Room, General James Chesnut Room, and President Jefferson Davis Room. The other two rooms are named the Carriage House Bridal Suite and the Carriage House Suite. Even though the home is replete with Civil War artifacts and a library, there are plenty of modern amenities to enable guests to rest comfortably. Some include luxurious linens and robes, private baths with whirlpool tubs, and ample breakfasts either in the room or in the home’s dining room in the company of other guests. There is also high speed internet access and televisions in each room. Prices for rooms range from $159 to $179.

The Chesnuts did not have any children, but children and pets are allowed at the Chesnut Cottage Bed and Breakfast “if well behaved”.

Within walking distance of the cottage, guests have access to dozens of restaurants, cooking classes at Let’s Cook Culinary Studio, distinct shops such as The Mast Farm General Store and NEST, and even the Columbia Art Museum. Plus, on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. is the increasingly popular Soda City Market on Main Street.

Says Gale, “Very few people take time to be tourists in their own town … take time to see the Capitol and area plantations.” For exercise and weather permitting, there is the popular Riverwalk and the Riverbanks Zoo.

                Location: 1718 Hampton Street in Columbia

                Phone Number: 803-256-1718

               Website: http://www.chesnutcottage.com.

Serene Whispering Willows

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Whispering Willows Bed & Breakfast is a place of quiet and calm.

The peace that pervades this property, just two miles off Hwy 77 at the Ridgeway exit – 29 miles outside Columbia – is evident in the natural pastures and pine groves that line the half-mile driveway to the inn. Situated on a knoll overlooking a hardwood forest where there is a winding trail along a slow-moving stream, is a relatively new home planned specifically as a place of refuge. According to Grace Prichard, who is innkeeper with her husband Bob, the comment most often given about the home is that it is “castle-like”.

The Prichards have been contemplating a sort of respite center for the entirety of their 40-year marriage. Soon after marriage, although they were living on the cliché shoestring, they received a missionary couple whom they welcomed in and proceeded to serve a completely made-from-scratch peach pie. Grace says the experience of enjoying food and fellowship in their tight, but cozy home, instilled in them a desire for ministry through hospitality. In many ways, over the years of him working as a microbiologist and her as a teacher at a Ben Lippen School, as well as raising and parenting four children, Grace and Bob ran an unofficial bed and breakfast.

Then they stayed at a real bed and breakfast in 2003 in the mountains for an anniversary weekend. The ambiance and soothing music provided a serene respite for the couple. They knew they wanted to provide the same for guests in their own bed and breakfast one day. They found 23 acres of land in Fairfield County, just a few miles from Ridgeway’s idyllic and historic main street – with the “famous” Laura’s Tea Room and a hardware store that takes visitors back 100 years as they enter. They spent many months clearing land and building what would serve as home for them, gathering place for their children and families, and rejuvenating getaway for anyone in need of rest and solitude.

Called Whispering Willows – and it is, indeed, a place of quiet and calm – there are five rooms: The Remnant, The Blessing, The Sparrow, The Refuge, and The Radiant. Or, guests can rent the whole house. A substantial made-from-scratch breakfast is served at a guest-selected time in the room, or guests can sit in the sunlit dining room or on the wide decks, weather permitting.

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Guests eat a made-from-scratch breakfast in the sunlit dining room or the decks.

Grace explains why she chose Whispering Willows: “I had always loved weeping willow trees, as they seemed to be reaching out and down for all, carefully desiring to embrace those weary ones sitting under their branches. I was also mindful of the fact that God often uses a gentle whisper to touch hearts…Thus, the name Whispering Willows was born.”

For those truly desiring out-of-town serenity without having to travel far, Whispering Willows is a place of reflection and renewal, points out Grace. She explains that it is more ministry than business.  The couple has to charge to maintain the property, but prices are kept low, from $75-$120, to allow most anyone to enjoy and recharge. Plus, there are no distractions, such as Wi-Fi or televisions. There is also no smoking or alcohol permitted; however, guests talk, read, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, sleep, write, and walk the trails that meander along a stream, through woods, and along pastures.

For dinner, there are a few local spots, including Old Town Hall Restaurant and Pub and Windmill. Shops attract customers from as far away as Charlotte due to the fact that downtown Ridgeway was the site of a historic depot and is on the route of the old Charlotte highway before Interstate 77 was constructed.

                Location: 2402 East Peach Road in Ridgeway

                Phone Number: 803-608-3280

                Website: http://www.whisperingwillowsbandb.com

SIDEBAR: Where Else?

To learn more about other bed and breakfast inns in the Columbia metropolitan and surrounding areas, visit www.tripadvisor.com as well as other hospitality sites. Each is distinct regarding number of rooms, pricing, services, and ambiance. Some also offer full-house and/or grounds’ rental for special events.